jump to navigation

A menagerie of monsters August 12, 2017

Posted by newsthatstaysnews in Uncategorized.

IMG_20170701_140950One of the things everyone loves about old maps is the monsters they filled into the undiscovered corners.  One of mine is that I’m not a very good guest correspondent.  It turns out I’m quite bad at sitting down to write down my memories.

I think it’s not surprising that the world outside was beautiful.  For a layman, the variety of crazy caterpillars.  The howler monkeys walking across three trees just to smack someone upside the head before falling asleep (I would do that if I were a howler monkey, I’m afraid).  Nor the feel of the human company.  All wonderful, open people, but a sort of agatha christie setting, in which there’s nowhere to go and no one to come visit, and so the same people just are themselves in scene after unaccompanied scene.

But, I think everyone’s favorite part of travelling is the unexpected.  Like this guy, who won’t move for thirty minutes (as I expect of an iguana), and then launches himself off the dock, flying off into the marshland to eat every hyacinth in sight.  And then, nap again.

But another wonderful part of traveling, at least as a young man, is just having to let go.  Take this guy: pretty cute, but then his owner caught my eye, and said “hey kid, what are you doing?”  And when I told him some humbug about going on a guided tour of Monteverde, he told me to drop absolutely everything and drive four hours north to climb an inactive volcano.

This is my language.  The form of my imagination.  Inquisitive dogs, importunate strangers, big lakes, volcanoes.  Total failure to foresee what the next day will bring.

So I drove off, of course.  Gave a ride to a passing hitchhiker, a butterfly-trinket salesman and an evangelical preacher.  We talked about the imported chinese butterflies (“costa ricans”, he informed me with devout charity, “are lazy, and never make anything”), and how he got along with Catholics (right idea, wrong execution).  I asked him how to make sense of the Hindu woman I live with, with her paintings of animal-headed gods.  He smiled, and explained to me that understood that “some of those hindu women are damned fine.”

“My middle aged landlady, thank you.”

He got quiet and, far from his stated destination, asked me to leave him by the side of the road.


There were of course, also, the obligatory giants, their grey cloaks loose about their shoulders.

But, it seems somehow insincere to leave out a couple of more straightforward monsters.  A nighttime stroll in Monteverde showed these guys.  Somehow, I’d taken “plants are photosynthetic” and “leafcutter ants eat plants”, put two and two together, and decided the ants must cease their business in the dark.  Something captures my imagination about these guys, ceaselessly going about their business, while I grow weary and rest.

And so they bore off a smattering of my cares.  Sins of the world I can nor pardon, nor carry, nor lift.  Parochial concerns, and the kind of status transactions Keith Johnstone would love.IMG_20170705_202354

Of course, no wayfarer’s aide would be complete without its monsters.IMG_20170706_165437

But, the far reach of this journey was, as the poet said, to continue new adventures at home.IMG_20170711_195125



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: